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Taos New Mexico Wines & Dines

Story and photos by Christopher J. Davies

Taos is a great destination for lovers of cuisine, wine, art and architecture. Located in Northern New Mexico, it is just a 4 hour drive from Denver or only 2.5 hours from Colorado Springs.

In 1540, Conquistador Hernando de Alvarado discovered Taos and when he saw the straw colored tops of the Taos Pueblo he thought he had discovered gold.

Today, Taos is a quaint town situated around a traditional town plaza. The architecture is 100% adobe, even down to the new national restaurant chains such as Applebee's and McDonalds.

The Historic Taos Inn
125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte
Taos, New Mexico 87571
Phone: 575.758.2233
http://www.taosinn.com/

The Taos Inn is the main attraction in the center of Taos, just a 2 minute stroll away from the Town Plaza and accessible to tons of art galleries, gift shops and restaurants. It is famous for its neon sign which has been featured in many paintings and photographs that symbolize downtown Taos.

When you enter the main entrance you will notice people gathering around in the various nooks and chairs, the open bar area and restaurants. In the evening the inn features live entertainment in the lobby. Every night it seems like half of the community comes for a visit to listen to live music and have a wee dram or one of several HTI signature Margaritas.

The rooms are located away from the main building in adjoining courtyards. Our section was one of the oldest, but our room was recently renovated and included a modern redux bathroom with large earth tone tiles and half walled glass shower partition.

King Courtyard rooms feature a hand-carved headboard, wood burning adobe fireplace with seating bancos, hand-painted trastero and mirror, table and chairs, old board ceiling and evaporative cooling. Cost: $150-$215 per night. Your room comes with one complimentary bundle of lovely scented pinon firewood every evening. Additional bundles of firewood may be purchased for $7.


DOC MARTIN'S RESTAURANT AT THE HISTORIC TAOS INN

Many locals and visitors trek to Doc Martin's for their delicious breakfast offerings such as blue corn & blueberry hotcakes, Vermont maple syrup & seasonal fruit butter or the "Kit Carson" poached eggs on a yam biscuit with red chile, salsa fresca, cheese & home fries. Another option is the Huevos Rancheros, two eggs any style served on a blue corn tortilla with cheese & choice of Red or Green chile; home fries, salsa fresca & sour cream for $7.75 ea.

Chef Zippy White is known for his creative cuisine and local ingredients. He has a green house adjacent to the courtyard where he grows herbs and chilies. Doc Martin's wine list will also impress the serious oenophile with a cellar selection toping 400.

I was pleased to try their value-priced wine tasting menu. It offered a great cross-section of dishes, expertly paired with delicious wines.

Winter Tasting Menu

Tempura Shrimp Salad
Cucumber, cabbage, carrots & Asian lime dressing
Wine: Gruet Sparkling Wine, Albuquerque, New Mexico n/v

Grilled Rattlesnake-Rabbit Sausage
Ancho chile-dried cherry sauce
Wine: Foris Pinot Noir, Rogue Valley, Oregon 2007

Pan Seared Rack of Lamb
Spinach-mushroom potato gratin, apple-mint demi-glace
Wine: Carlos Basso “Dos Fincos” Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza,
Argentina 2008

Chocolate Lover's Pie
Silky Chocolate Mousse, Sweet Cookie Crust & Whipped cream
Wine: Beaulieu Vineyards "Muscat de Beaulieu" Rutherford, California n/v

$60 per person plus tax & gratuity


Other notable dinning spots offer eclectic and lively cuisine, with
value-priced daily features:

At Graham’s Grille try the Cajun Big Ass Shrimp, $19 or the Grilled Flatiron with butter,$19.50. Owner Leslie Fay is related to Nathan Fay of Stags Leap viticultural fame. Graham's wine list consists of many hand-picked favs from Cali, Europe and South America. The pricing is fair and value packed.

Graham's Grille
106 Cam Del Paseo Pueblo Norte
Taos, New Mexico 87571-7014
(575) 751-1350
www.grahamstaos.com

Away from town in Ranchos de Taos you’ll find Stakeout Grill & Bar, a destination restaurant with a view featuring delicious international fare overseen by a European restaurateur.

Stakeout Grill & Bar
101 Stakeout Drive
P.O. Box 453
Ranchos de Taos,
New Mexico, 87557
Tel. (505) 758-2042
www.stakeoutrestaurant.com


Wineries

New Mexico has a four-century long history of wine making. There are several wineries in the Taos area worth a stop.

Vivác Winery is New Mexico's new kids on the block. Run by two ambitious brothers, Jesse and Chris Padberg, who are determined to make the best wine in the state. They are currently producing 2,500 cases of wine, exclusively made from New Mexico grown grapes. They have a wine club and offer nationwide shipping. A 15% discount is extended to club members.

Vivác's tasting room currently showcases a wide selection of 13 wines.

Standouts include:

The 900 square-foot adobe tasting room was built by the proprietors themselves in 2003. It features paintings and black and white photography created by the owners’ wives, Michele Alexandra and Liliana Zavala Padberg.

They also dabble in jewelry and chocolate.

Vivác Winery
2075 State Highway 68, Embudo, NM 87531
Phone: (505)-579-4441
www.vivacwinery.com


TAOS & ART: HAND & HAND

This part of the country is revered by many well respected and up-and-coming artists for its enchanted lighting, stunning vistas and landscape. Georgia O'Keeffe’s most famous works were created during her many visits to Taos. Today you can visit the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu which is located between Taos and Sante Fe where Georgia O'Keeffe painted for fifty years. You can visit the ranch and participate in numerous weekly art classes offered by staff and visiting artists ($275 to $1800). In the summertime you can also stay at their rustic but clean B&B. Rooms with a view, the same view Georgia O'Keeffe had, start at $90 per night.
www.ghostranch.org

If you are into art and history, take a side trip to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. It is well worth the visit. They open daily from 10am to 5pm. On Fridays they stay open until 8pm.

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
217 Johnson Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501
505.946.1000
www.okeeffemuseum.org

The Museum Association of Taos has preserved five historic artists’ homes that now house Tao's five museums. You may purchase one ticket to gain admission to 5 unique museums. Cost $25. www.taosmuseums.org

Area resources:

New Mexico Wine Country
www.winecountrynm.com

Taos Vacation Guide
www.taosvacationguide.org

Taos New Mexico Wines & Dines
Story and photos by Christopher J. Davies © 2013, all rights reserved.